LEAGUE OF HIS OWN

‘I FELT LIKE A CAGED BIRD WHO HAD TO CON­FORM’

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - RYAN KEEN [email protected]

WHEN Kevin Gor­don quit the Gold Coast Ti­tans and a $350,000-a-year con­tract at 25, he left to travel the US and chase an en­ter­tain­ment ca­reer.

Now back on the Gold Coast he has self-re­leased an al­bum, a plethora of zany videos and plans to rollerblade to Syd­ney in a promo stunt.

The now 28-year-old has opened up to the

Bul­letin and tells doubters why he has not “lost the plot” and feels lib­er­ated.

THREE years on from quit­ting a $350,000-a-year rugby league ca­reer with the Gold Coast Ti­tans at just 25, Kevin Gor­don ad­mits a lot of peo­ple think he’s “lost the plot”.

The NRL cult fig­ure is now pur­su­ing mu­sic star­dom and fre­quently post­ing zany videos on­line but says he has no re­grets de­spite walk­ing away from the fi­nal two years of his lu­cra­tive con­tract.

Gor­don, 28, back on the Gold Coast for the past year af­ter 20 months try­ing to crack into movies in Los An­ge­les and trav­el­ling, has sel­f­re­leased his first al­bum, called the Al­bum of the Year un­der the moniker Deep Gor­don.

He ad­mit­ted in a wide-rang­ing in­ter­view this week he had felt sti­fled as a rugby league player, up­set his fa­ther by quit­ting and de­spite hav­ing two prop­er­ties was down to his fi­nal $10 last month and scram­bled with his flat­mates three mu­si­cians – to pay rent.

But he was happy with his cho­sen path and the only thing he missed about play­ing for the Ti­tans was scor­ing tries.

“I had this en­ergy around me like ‘you’re a footy player, that’s all you can be. Do that for 20 years un­til you can’t walk any more’. It was hold­ing me down.

“A lot of peo­ple out there are say­ing I’ve lost the plot. But I don’t care. It just mo­ti­vates me to go hard. My dad doesn’t re­ally be­lieve in me. That is some­one I care about so why would I care about what some­one else thinks who I don’t even know?”

By the end of his play­ing ca­reer, he said he was us­ing painkillers daily due to chronic hip and knee in­juries and he grap­pled for most of his fi­nal sea­son with whether to quit the game he had ded­i­cated his youth to.

The most dif­fi­cult part of re­tir­ing was telling his fa­ther.

“He said ‘You’ve got houses to pay off, you can’t just pull the pin, what about the money?’ It wasn’t un­til I said ‘Do you want me to keep play­ing un­til I can’t walk any­more?’ My hip, my knee, I had to take painkillers ev­ery day for train­ing. Af­ter I said that he sort of came to grips with it.

“But I can un­der­stand how hard it would have been for him. He was al­ways there sup­port­ing me. I think that was why it was pretty hard.”

Gor­don has set up a mu­sic stu­dio in his Mer­ri­mac home he owns, say­ing he went into hi­ber­na­tion record­ing the Al­bum of the Year which fea­tures him singing, rap­ping and us­ing his own self-sourced sam­ples on 11 tracks.

He also has a bunch of videos doc­u­ment­ing his trav­els across the US and other snip­pets of his post-NRL life.

“It’s a free­dom, just ex­press­ing my­self, my videos, just cre­at­ing my­self, it’s lib­er­at­ing,” he said. “I wake up and say ‘What do I want to make to­day, bring to life?’

“(At the Ti­tans) I felt like a caged bird and con­form­ing to just be­ing a footy player, you have spon­sors and the club and have to abide by their rules, you can’t do any­thing out of the norm.

“This year I’ve been like mu­sic, it’s my pas­sion, why haven’t I seen this be­fore?

“I’m just try­ing to in­spire peo­ple, if they see me ex­press­ing my­self to my fullest im­pe­fec­tions, they might think if he can do it, I can do it.”

He ad­mits it hasn’t been as lu­cra­tive as rugby league. Whilst one of his prop­er­ties is rented and “pays for it­self”, he lives in the other and at times is “liv­ing on the tuna cans”.

Thank­fully an in­sur­ance com­pany re­cently paid $6000 for two pro­mo­tional videos.

“It came down to the last $10 and I said ‘Boys, we need the rent in or the bank is go­ing to ring. But it’s al­right, the dark­est hour al­ways comes be­fore the sun rises.”

He has faith the sun will rise on him again with mu­sic.

“One thing I learned from footy was the amount of work it takes to be pro­fes­sional at the top. All I have to do is take the work it takes to get to the top of footy and ap­ply that to this form.”

Main pic­ture: JA­SON O’BRIEN

Main: JA­SON O’BRIEN

Kevin Gor­don in Surfers Par­adise yesterday; (in­set) play­ing for the Ti­tans, 2013.

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